Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi     572 posts


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One day some new born squirrels had fallen out of their nest and landed on Ramana’s couch. Their eyes were still closed and they were very tiny. The mother, however, did not take them back. But how should one feed such tiny things? The squirrels laid in Ramana’s palm. His face was glowing with love and affection towards them. The devotees looked on helplessly, but he was happy and cheerful. He asked for some cotton and made a soft bed for them.Then he took a piece of the cotton, rolled it up so that the end looked like a sharp needle, dipped it into some milk and trickled it in their tiny mouths. This he did repeatedly. He looked after them with great care and love until they grew up and started running around. They did not run away, however, but always ran around their ‘mother’.

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One day a few squirrels came on to Bhagavan's sofa for their share of cashew nuts. The nuts in the tin, which used to be near Bhagavan, had been exhausted. Therefore, Bhagavan instead gave peanuts, but the squirrels would not eat them. They refused to eat and began to express their discontent in all possible ways. Bhagavan cajoled them. "We don't have cashew nuts my dears. What to do?" he said, but they could not be appeased. The squirrels showed their displeasure by crawling over the legs and hands of Bhagavan continuously.

Seeing their plight, Bhagavan asked his attendant Krishnaswami to go and find out if there was any stock of cashew nuts in the store room. Krishnaswami went to the kitchen and returned with a few cashew nuts. "Is that all?" asked Bhagavan looking at the cashew nuts.

Krishnaswami said, "Tonight, cooks are preparing payasam and they said that they can spare only this much."

Bhagavan was annoyed and said, "I see, payasam will not be less tasty if the cashew are a little less in quantity than usual. What a pity! These squirrels do not like anything else, and they are worrying me. The store keepers have declined to give cashew nuts saying that they will have to put them in the payasam. Who will be worried if there are no cashew nuts in the payasam? See how these children are worrying themselves for want of cashew nuts!" With that, the cashew nuts which should have gone to payasam went into the stomachs of the squirrels and also into the tin by the side for future feeding of the squirrels.

The same evening Dr. Ananthanarayana Rao, a devotee of Bhagavan brought from Madras 2 viss (about 2.7 kg) of cashew nuts, saying he had brought them for the squirrels. With a smile, Bhagavan said to Krishnaswami, the attendant, "Look at this! They are earning whatever they want. There is no need to beg anybody. These cashew nuts are squirrel's property. Keep them carefully. Note that they should not be given to the store room"

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Mr. Mac Iver, a resident devotee, asked Bhagavan if he might go to Switzerland where a Guru was inviting him.

Sri Bhagavan said: Some force brought him here and the same force is taking him to Europe. Let him always remember the world is only the projection of the mind and the mind is in the Self. Wherever the body may move the mind must be kept under control. The body moves, but not the Self. The world is within the Self, that is all.

- Talk 514

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All your cares are His.
Such is surrender.

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The Experience of Enlightenment

You can feel yourself one with the One that exists. The whole body becomes a mere power, a force-current. Your life becomes a needle drawn to a huge mass of magnet and as you go deeper and deeper, you become a mere centre and then not even that, for you become a mere Consciousness; there are no thoughts or cares any longer- they were shattered at the threshold- it is an inundation. You, a mere straw, are swallowed alive, but it is very delightful, for you become the very thing that swallows you. This is the union of jiva with Brahman, the loss of ego in the real Self, the destruction of falsehood and the attainment of Truth.

~ Ramana Maharshi ( From 'Satdarshana Bhashya and Talks, p 21)

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As long as a man is the doer, he also reaps the fruit of his deeds, but, as soon as he realizes the Self through enquiry as to who is the doer his sense of being the doer falls away and the triple karma is ended. This is the state of eternal Liberation.

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To a devotee who was praying that
she should have more frequent visions
of Siva, Bhagavan said,
“Surrender to Him and
abide by His Will,
whether He appears or disappears;
await His pleasure....
If you ask Him to do as you like
it is not surrender but command to God... You cannot have Him obey you
and yet think you have surrendered....
He knows what is best and
when and how to do it....
His is the burden....
You have no longer any cares....
All your cares are His....
Such is surrender....
That is bhakti..."

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*What is meditation?*

This was a question haunting a small boy. His parents were at wit's end, as they could not explain it in a simple language the boy could comprehend.

Once the family went for a dharshan to Shri Ramana Maharishi. The boy put forward his question to Ramana Maharishi.

Shri Ramana laughed to himself. Then with smiling face, he asked his devotee to serve the boy dosa from the kitchen.

So, on a plain leaf, a dosa was served. Shri Ramana looked at the boy and said,

*" Now I will say "Hmm"* *Then only you should start eating. Then again I will say "hmm" After that no piece of dosa should be left on your plate."*

The boy agreed. He was so excited. Others were watching expectantly. Now the boy was eagerly waiting for the signal by looking at Shri Ramana's face. When he gave the signal "hmm" the boy started eating. Now his attention was on Shri Ramana. He wanted to finish dosa before the signal. The boy was eating dosa in a hurry , tearing big chunks of dosa, but, all the time keeping his attention on Shri Ramana. The dosa was reducing in size gradually. There was a small piece left. The boy was looking anxiously at Shri Ramana for the second signal. The moment he gave the signal, the boy immediately put the dosa in his mouth.

Now Shri Ramana asked him " where was your attention till now? On me or on Dosa?"

The boy replied " On both"

Shri Ramana said" Yes. You were actively involved in finishing dosa, with your attention on me. You were not distracted at all.
Like this when you do your daily activities with your attention or thoughts on God in the back ground, it is known as meditation."

The two signals "hmm" are birth & death. Within these two events, one can engage in meditation, as demonstrated by Shri Ramana Maharishi. But to understand this we all need divine grace to mellow & mature. We all differ from each other and hence take different time to comprehend this great truth.

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ASSOCIATION WITH SADHUS

The wise ones will shun the company of those inveterate disputants who babble empty and useless words because they have not subdued themselves through the knowledge of the path of dharma, and have not steadfastly focused on the ideal of life by cherishing it within.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 328

Many are the evils [that arise] if one associates with crazy fools with confused minds who babble with their ‘holy’ mouths. Know that only association with those in whom the mind has died and pure mauna shines is excellent association.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 329

O Mind! Sever quickly and completely the painful connection with the ignoble people who utter ruinous lies and who comfort themselves in an improper way. Reach and associate with those [jnanis] who are abiding in the state of tranquility, free of restlessness.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 330

Muruganar : Sri Ramana has expressed similar sentiments about associating with worldly-minded people in Aksharamanamalai verse 20:
Saving me from the cruel power of those who are [like hunters] with their sharp swords and cunning snares, bestow your grace liberally, O Arunachala, and unite with me.

This is the natural mental state of those who have rejoiced, even briefly, in the light of the Self.

Those who have realized the truth are alone the possessors of faultless virtues. Apart from these, everyone else is only base of nature. Hence, he who longs for the fortune of liberation must redeem himself only by resorting to those of the aforementioned meritorious ones who shine as reality through the knowledge of reality that is devoid of the world-delusion.
Guru Vachaka Kovai v 332

Muruganar : All the rare virtues automatically seek and reach those who have realized the truth through purity of mind. Hence, in order to emphasize that only they deserve to be called virtuous who are naturally replete with all the noble traits, it has been said ‘Those who have realized the truth are alone the possessors of faultless virtues’. In those people who do not have true jnana, even though they may be extremely virtuous in the external conduct they observe, the ego that is the source of all evil traits remains in their hearts without perishing. Therefore it was said: ‘everyone else is only base of nature.’ While all other things may be obtained from [these unenlightened] people, the knowledge of reality – that which bestows the bliss of peace, the redemption that is free of the mind – can only be obtained from these meritorious ones. Those who are fit to be accepted as Gurus have [thus] been indicated.

Bhagavan: Humility and self-restraint are the marks of those transformed and radiant beings who embody the quality of virtue.
[Padamalai, p.130, v. 26]

Bhagavan: All good or daivic qualities are included in jnana and all bad asuric qualities are included in ajnana. When jnana comes all ajnana goes and all daivic qualities come automatically. If a man is a jnani he cannot utter a lie or do anything wrong. It is, no doubt, said in some books that one should cultivate one quality after another and thus prepare for ultimate moksha, but for those who follow the jnana or vichara marga their sadhana is itself quite enough for acquiring all daivic qualities; they need not do anything else.

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It is necessary by a courage-imbued intellect to gently gently [calmly and gradually] make the mind achieve motionlessness. Great charioteer, fix the mind [your attention] in [or on] ātman [yourself]; do not think even the slightest of anything else at all.

('Bhagavad Gītā Sāram': v. 27 [Bhagavan's translation of 'Bhagavad Gītā': 6.25])

___________________________________________________________

- Translated by Michael James.

தீரஞ்சேர் புத்தியினாற் சித்தத்தை மெல்லமெல்ல

நேரச் செயவேண்டு நிச்சலன — மாரதனே

சித்தத்தை யான்மாவிற் சேர்த்திடுக மற்றெதுவு

மித்தனையு மெண்ணிடா தே.

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At the end of about five months in the village, I was down with
severe malaria and had to be taken to Gudur, where the doctor declared
that I was likely to die. I, however, had a strong determination that I would
not die until I had seen my guru again. I placed a picture of Bhagavan by
my bedside and meditated on it throughout the ordeal. Whenever I looked
at the picture I felt as if Bhagavan was laughing or smiling at me. I am
convinced that it was the power and grace of Bhagavan that kept me alive
and enabled me to make a full recovery within two months.
I arrived at Sri Ramanasramam during the navaratri celebrations
of 1949. In the afternoon of the Vijayadasmi day, I stood in front of the
Mother’s shrine [See photograph no. 16 in the book], waiting for Bhagavan
to appear. He came accompanied by Swami Satyananda, entered the new
hall [Attached to the Mother’s shrine], and took his seat on the stone sofa.
I went up to him and made a full prostration. When I stood up, he looked
intently at me for a few moments. I withdrew and sat near a pillar outside
the hall where I could do Self-enquiry undisturbed.
Bhagavan could still see me from where he was sitting. Shortly
afterwards, I saw Muruganar taking a seat close to Bhagavan. After a
few minutes Muruganar came and sat down next to me. A few other
devotees came and sat near us. I closed my eyes and began meditation on
‘Who am I?’
Within a few minutes, the gracious smiling face of Bhagavan
appeared within me on the right side of the chest. There was something
like a lightning flash that resulted in a flood of divine light shining both
within and without. Bhagavan’s face was still smiling on the right side of
the chest. It seemed to be lit up with radiance that exceeded innumerable
lightning flashes rolled into one. The bliss and joy these experiences gave
brought tears to my eyes. Finally, the internal picture of Bhagavan
disappeared and the Self absorbed my whole being.
I remained in that state without body consciousness for about
three hours. The experience was so intense that even when I opened my
eyes I found myself incapable of either speaking or moving. I remained
where I was for another three hours because I was incapable of movement
of any kind. At about 9 p.m. I rose to my feet and very slowly made my
way back to my allotted place in the men’s dormitory of the Ashram.

Next day afternoon I went up to Sri Bhagavan, prostrated before
him and handed him a note via his attendant Venkataratnam. The note,
which I had written in Telugu said, “Bhagavan, in your presence and by
the quest [Who am I?] I have realised the Self.” He read the note, looked
at me for a moment, and then his face lit up in a radiant smile. For sometime
we looked at each other. Then he broke the silence by asking me where I
had come from. “Gudur”, I replied. “That is in Nellore district, isn’t it?”
Enquired Bhagavan. “Yes!” I answered. This was the only conversation
I ever had with Bhagavan. After giving him those two brief replies, I
didn’t speak again for another 13 years.

~ Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi
p. 169

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The very fact that you are possessed of the quest for the Self is a manifestation of the divine grace.

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To the extent we behave with humility, to that extent good will result.

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HELPING OTHERS

Cast all claims, aspirations, desires to serve humanity and schemes to reform the world upon the Universal Power which sustains this universe. He is not a fool. He will do what is required. Lose the sense, 'I am doing this.' Get rid of egoism. ...

Have compassionate love for others but keep it secret; do not make a display of it or talk a out it. If your desires are fulfilled, do not be elated, and if you are frustrated, do not be disappointed. The elation may be deceptive; it should be checked, for initial joy may end in final grief. After all, whatever happens YOU remain unaffected, just as you are.

Q: But how can I help another with his problems?

M: What is this talk of another? there is only the One. Try to realize there is no 'I', no you, no he, only the ONE SELF which is all.If you believe in the problem of another, you are believing in something outside the Self. You will help him best by realizing the oneness of everything, rather than by outward activity.

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Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world. The Sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the whole world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.

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ALL VISIONS ARE MENTAL - REALITY IS ONE

Miss Umadevi, a Polish lady convert to Hinduism, asked Sri Bhagavan: I once before told Sri Bhagavan how I had a vision of Siva at about the time of my conversion to Hinduism. A similar experience recurred to me at Courtallam. These visions are momentary. But they are blissful. I want to know how they might be made permanent and continuous. Without Siva there is no life in what I see around me. I am so happy to think of Him. Please tell me how His vision may be everlasting to me.

M.: You speak of a vision of Siva. Vision is always of an object. That implies the existence of a subject. The value of the vision is the same as that of the seer. (That is to say, the nature of the vision is on the same plane as that of the seer.) Appearance implies disappearance also. Whatever appears must also disappear. A vision can never be eternal. But Siva is eternal The pratyaksha (vision) of Siva to the eye signifies the existence of the eyes to see; the buddhi (intellect) lying behind the sight; the seer behind the buddhi and the sight; and finally the Consciousness underlying the seer. This pratyaksha (vision) is not as real as one imagines it to be, because it is not intimate and inherent; it is not first-hand. It is the result of several successive phases of Consciousness. Of these, Consciousness alone does not vary. It is eternal. It is Siva. It is the Self.

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D.: The Gita was taught for action.

Maharshi.: What does the Gita say? Arjuna refused to fight. Krishna said, “So long as you refuse to fight, you have the sense of doership. Who are you to refrain or to act? Give up the notion of doership. Until that sense disappears you are bound to act. You are being manipulated by a Higher Power. You are admitting it by your own refusal to submit to it. Instead recognise the Power and submit as a tool. (Or to put it differently), if you refuse you will be forcibly drawn into it. Instead of being an unwilling worker, be a willing one.

“Rather, be fixed in the Self and act according to nature without the thought of doership. Then the results of action will not affect you. That is manliness and heroism.”

Thus, ‘inherence in the Self’ is the sum and substance of Gita teaching. Finally, the Master Himself added, “If a man be established in the Self these doubts would not arise. They arise only until he is established there.”

D.: Then of what use is such reply to the enquirer?

M.: The words still have force and will surely operate in due course.

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Do not suffer through chasing after the world and its ways, but attain peace by running along the straight path to the Heart.

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30th October 1945

Sri Dilip Kumar Roy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram this morning sang in the presence of Maharshi in the Hall and in the evening asked the following questions:
Dilip: Some people reported you to have said that there was no need for a guru. Others gave the opposite report. What does Maharshi say?
Bhagavan: I have never said that there is no need for a guru.

D: Sri Aurobindo and others refer to you as having had no guru.
Bhagavan: All depends on what you call guru. He need not be in a human form. Dattatreya had twenty-four gurus: the five elements – earth, water, etc., which means that every object in this world was his guru. Guru is absolutely necessary. The Upanishads say that none but a guru can take a man out of the jungle of intellect and sense- perceptions. So there must be a guru.

D: I mean a human guru – the Maharshi did not have one.

Bhagavan: I might have had one at one time or other. But did I not sing hymns to Arunachala? What is a guru? Guru is God or the Self. First a man prays to God to fulfill his desires. A time comes when he will no more pray for the fulfillment of material desires but for God Himself. God then appears to him in some form or other, human or non-human, to guide him to Himself in answer to his prayer and according to his needs.

- Guru Ramana

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* * * I am formless. * * *

One Raghavachari was an overseer at Tiruvannamalai from 1910 onwards. He had Bhagavan's darshan off and on but whenever he went, Bhagavan would be amidst a group of people and
so Raghavachari was reluctant to speak to Bhagavan Sri Ramana who was not alone.

Here is what happened once, in his own words:

One day, I went up with an intent to submit three questions or requests to Bhagavan Sri Ramana.

The questions were:
(i) Can you grant me a few minutes for a private personal talk-free from the presence of others?
(ii) I should like to have your opinion on the Theosophical society of which I am a member;
(iii) Will you please enable me to see your real form if I am eligible to see it?

When I went and prostrated (to Bhagavan Ramana) and sat,
there was a crowd of thirty persons,
but (on their own) they immediately dispersed.
So I was alone with him and my first query was thus answered
without my having to state it.
That struck me as noteworthy.

Then he asked me of his own accord
if the book in my hand was the Gita and
if I was a member of the T.S. and
remarked even before I attempted to answer his queries,
`It is doing good work.'
I answered his questions in the affirmative.

My second question also being thus anticipated,
I waited with an eager mind for the third answer.

After half an hour I said
`Just as Arjuna wished to see the form of Sri Krishna and
asked for darshan I wish to have a darshan of your real form,
if I am eligible.'

He was then seated on the pial with a picture of Dakshinamurthy painted on the wall next to him.
He silently gazed on as usual and I gazed into his eyes.
Then his body and also the picture of Dakshinamurthy disappeared from my view.
There was only empty space without even a wall, before my eyes.
Then a whitish cloud in the outline of the Maharshi and of Dakshinamurthy, formed before my eyes.

Gradually the outline (with silvery lines) of these figures appeared.
Then eyes, nose etc., and other details were outlined in lightning-like lines.
These gradually broadened till the whole figure of the Swami and Dakshinamurthy became ablaze with very strong and unendurable light.

I closed my eyes in consequence.
I waited a few minutes and
then saw him and Dakshinamurthy in the usual form.
I prostrated and came away.

For a month thereafter I did not dare go near him,
so great was the impression the above experience made on me.

After a month, I went up and saw him in front of Skandasramam.

I told him `I had put to you a question a month ago and I had this experience'
and narrated the above experience to him.
I requested him to explain it.

Then, after a pause he said
`You wanted to see my form.
You saw my disappearance.
I am formless.
So that experience might be the real truth.
The further visions may be according
to your own conceptions derived from the study of Bhagavad Gita.
But Ganapati Sastry had a similar experience and you may consult him.'

I did not in fact consult Sastri.

( Extracted from Narasimha Swami's Self)

~ Sri Ramana Leela, Chapter : 48

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MAYA IS THE REALITY

4th January 1937

A disciple remarks that Sri Bhagavan often says that Maya and Reality are the same. How can that be?

Bhagavan: Shankara was criticized for his views on Maya without understanding him. He said that

(1) Brahman is real,
(2) The universe is unreal, and
(3) Brahman is the universe.

He did not stop at the second, because the third explains the other two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived as the Self, and unreal if perceived apart from the Self. Hence Maya and Reality are one and the same.

~ Guru Ramana

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The last words exchanged between Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and Sri Annamalai Swamy form a very moving account of how a Guru attempts to break the discple's attachment to his form. Some excerpts:

"If one has no faith in God one will commit a lot of sins and be miserable. But you, you are a mature devotee. When the mind has attained maturity, in that mature state, if one thinks that one is separate from God, one will fall into the same state as an atheist who has no belief in God."

I left the ashram and never went back again, Although my room is only about 200 yards from the ashram gate, I have not visited the ashram once since that fateful day in the 1940's.

Though Bhagavan has asked me not to come to the ashram any more, I still thought that I had the freedom to talk to Him when He visited Palakottu. Bhagavan disabused me of this notion shortly afterwards, when I went to see Him while He was walking on the hill.

He turned to me and said, "You are happier than I. What you had to give, you have given. What I had to give I have given. Why are you still coming to me?"

These were His last words to me. I obeyed his instructions and never approached Him again.

Bhagavan had once told me: "Do not cling to the form of the Guru for this will perish; do not cling to His feet for His attendants will stop you. The true Bhagavan resides in your Heart as your true Self. This is who I truly am."

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DANGER OF PHILOSOPHY
10th April 1937

A highly learned visitor whose chief interest was man and his constitution, wanted Sri Bhagavan to explain from experience man’s various bodies, his koshas and their functions, his atma-buddhi-manas, etc.

Bhagavan: (after a brief explanation added) The intricate maze of philosophy of different schools claims to clarify matters and reveal the Truth, but in fact they create confusion where no confusion need exist.

To understand anything there needs to be the understanding Being. Why worry about his bodies, his ahankar, his buddhi, creation, God, Mahatmas, world – the not-Self – at all? Why not remain yourself and be in peace?

Take Vedanta, for instance: it speaks of the fifteen pranas, the names, and functions of which the student is asked to commit to memory. Will it not be sufficient if he is taught that only one prana does the whole work of maintaining life in the body? Again, the antahkarana is said to think, to desire, to will, to reason, etc. Why all these details?

Has anyone seen the antahkarana, or all these pranas? Do they really exist? They are all conceptual divisions invented by teachers of philosophy by their excessive analysis. Where do all these concepts end? Why should confusion be created and then explained away?

Fortunate is the man who does not lose himself in the labyrinths of philosophy, but goes straight to the Source from which they all rise.

- Guru Ramana

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R. Narayana Iyer did personal service to Sri Ramana. He wrote a number of articles in The Mountain Path under the pen name Vishnu. When he first went to Sri Ramana as a young man, he was a modernist and a freethinker.

In 1929, when employed as Sub-Registrar at Chetput, a town 30 miles from Tiruvannamalai, I was an out-and-out skeptic with no religion in me, scoffing in my references to sadhus, sannyasis and swamis, whom I considered impostors and parasites on society, who exploited the credulous folk for personal ends.

My only friend and constant companion was Dr. Ramakrishna Iyer, son of Lakshmi Ammal, a friend and playmate of Sri Bhagavan in his boyhood days at Tiruchuzhi.1 He was well acquainted with Bhagavan and an occasional visitor to the Ashram. He once asked me to accompany him to Tiruvannamalai during the festival of Karthikai Deepam.

The pomp and pageantry of the temple festival had no attraction for me, yet I agreed, not wishing to hurt my friend’s feelings. However, I requested him to let me stay with my parents, who had gone for the festival and were staying in the town. He agreed. But on seeing the number of persons huddled in a small house in the town, I consented to stay at the Ashram, which was less crowded. On the way, I repeated my opinion about the so-called holy men and said to Dr. Iyer, “I will not come in or join in any of your ‘foolish acts’. If by chance I meet your Swami, I will not prostrate before him. I mean no insult but I cannot do what is against my conviction.”

We walked in. A man in a white loincloth, a towel suspended on his shoulder, a kamandalu in one hand and a walking stick in another, stopped in his walk on seeing us. My friend hastened his steps and I slowly followed. He was greeted very kindly and was asked about the welfare of his mother and brother. Out of courtesy, I looked at the Maharshi. What a wonderful face and what a welcoming smile; bewitching, fascinating and a powerful look too!
In a moment I was at his feet on the gravel ground! I soon regained my self-possession and felt ashamed. With a pleasing smile, he said, “You have a couple of days’ leave, is it not so? You can stay in the Ashramam.”

I dared not say anything. I was dazed. Soon I recovered and wanted to find out if he had written any books. I got a copy of Reality in Forty Verses in Tamil. I tried to read the first stanza. I could not follow. The words seemed too closely packed and somehow jumbled together to form a stanza. I was flabbergasted. “What”, thought I, “can he not say what he has to say in some intelligible language?” Someone nearby said that it had been arranged that the Maharshi himself would explain to us the Forty Verses that night.

At night, the Maharshi sat on a dais inside a shed containing his mother’s samadhi. About half a dozen of us were seated on the ground before him. A solemn stillness pervaded the air. There was absolute silence. Maharshi read the first stanza. The mere reading of the stanza made the meaning as simple as simplicity itself! Stanza by stanza he read and explained in a voice that was so sweet and melodious and coming as though from ‘somewhere’. The climax came. Explaining one verse he said, “God cannot be seen with our eyes or known by our sense perceptions. This is what is meant by the saying: To see God is to become God.” A stalwart person with a severe expression named Dandapani Swami, interposed: “Is Bhagavan saying this out of personal experience?”

The question asked bluntly with such naivete was answered with equal candor: “Else would I dare to say so?” What takes so much time to think flashed upon me in a moment. God cannot be known by our sense faculties. The only way was to become God. If God were to appear before one in flesh and blood here He is. My body experienced a thrill from somewhere deep down in me. Again and again, thrill after thrill quivered and shook my frame. I went out to compose myself.

Well, I seemed caught in a net! The more I was with him; the more I wanted to be with him. But I was shortly transferred to Arni, another town within the same radius of thirty miles. Here I missed the company of the doctor friend. Losing all delight in all other things, I turned the monthly visits to the Ashram to weekly ones, coupling Sundays with other holidays. And I was always welcome at the Ashram.

Sri Bhagavan had his head shaved once a month on the full moon day. Natesan was the barber who used to do this service. Bhagavan sat on a stool and Natesan would stand and shave him. Once Sri Bhagavan suggested to Natesan in all seriousness that it would be more comfortable for the barber to sit on the stool while he himself would sit on the floor!

I used to translate from Tamil to English Bhagavan’s replies to letters received by him. I had made friends with the attendants, Madhavaswami, Satyanandaswami, Krishnaswami, Rangaswami, and others. They did not protest when I gradually introduced personal services to Sri Bhagavan, such as massaging his legs, fomentations, etc.

There were occasions when his muscles became rigid or painful. After his work like cutting vegetables and directing the task of the kitchen workers in the early hours of the morning, he would be on his couch in the hall sitting there or just reclining like a statue cut in alabaster or like one posing for a painter or sculptor. Sitting in this manner all day made his muscles hard and inflexible and so he required some massage. Thus, by slow degrees, a sort of familiarity and intimacy grew up between Bhagavan and me.

Once I asked, “Bhagavan, you left your home in Madurai where your relatives had been treating you with love and kindness and spending money upon your education. You misappropriated their money for your train fare to Tiruvannamalai. You sneaked your way to the railway station so as not to be noticed by anyone. You posed yourself as a pilgrim who had lost his kit. Was all this straightforward and proper?” He was silent for a while and then replied, “This can be explained. It is said in the Kural3 that even falsehood is akin to truth when it is unblemished good and harms none.”

I once told Bhagavan, “I have been here for many years. People meditate and get into samadhi. I close my eyes for a minute and the mind travels around the world ten times and so many long-forgotten things come up.” Upon this, he said, “Why do you concern yourself about others? They may meditate or sleep and snore. Look to yourself. Whenever the mind goes astray bring it back to the quest.”

Once a few very learned Sanskrit scholars were seated in the hall discussing portions of the Upanishads and other scriptural texts with Bhagavan. I felt in my heart, how great these people are and how fortunate they are to be so learned and to have such deep understanding and ability to discuss with our Bhagavan. I felt miserable. After the pandits had taken leave, Bhagavan turned to me and said, “What?” looking into my eyes and studying my thoughts, “This is only the husk! All this book learning and capacity to repeat the scriptures by memory is absolutely of no use. To know the Truth, you need not undergo all this torture of learning. Not by reading do you get the Truth. Be Quiet that is Truth. Be Still, that is God.”

Then very graciously he turned to me again, and there was an immediate change in his tone and attitude. He asked, “Do you shave yourself?”

Bewildered by this sudden change, I answered trembling that I did. “Ah”, he said, “For shaving, you use a mirror, don’t you? You look into the mirror and then shave your face; you don’t shave the image in the mirror. Similarly, all the scriptures are meant only to show you the way of Realization. They are meant for practice and attainment. Mere book learning and discussions are comparable to a man shaving the image in the mirror.” From that day onwards my long-standing sense of inferiority vanished once for all.

Once I cried and told the Maharshi that I knew nothing about Vedanta nor could I practice austerity, being a householder. I prayed to him to help me by showing the Reality or the way to it. I also frankly told him that his method of Self-enquiry was too hard for me. He then graciously said, “You know Ulladu Narpadu [Truth in Forty Verses]. It imparts Pure Truth, deals with it and explains it. Go on reading it verse by verse. The words of the verses will in course of time vanish and Pure Truth (sat) alone will shine, like the snake relinquishing its skin and coming out shining.”

One day I felt puzzled by the teaching that everything in the world is maya or illusion. I asked Bhagavan how with the physical existence before our eyes we can all be unreal and non-existent? Bhagavan laughed and asked me whether I had any dream the previous night. I replied that I saw several people lying asleep. He said, “Suppose now I ask you to go and wake up all those people in the dream and tell them they are not real, how absurd would it be! That is how it is to me. There is nothing but the dreamer, so where does the question of dream people, real or unreal, arise; still more of waking them up and telling them that they are not real. We are all unreal, why do you doubt it? That alone is real.” After this explanation, I never had any doubt about the unreality of the objective world.

About the jivanmukta, Bhagavan said, “The jivanmukta is one without any thoughts or sankalpas. The thought process ceases completely in him. Some Power makes him do things. So he is not the doer but the one who is made to do.”

Bhagavan’s compassion has graced my life many times – On the day my wife died, it rained in torrents. I was afraid that the cremation would be delayed. Bhagavan sent some Ashram workers to help me. When Bhagavan was told that the rain was too heavy for the funeral, he said, “Go on with it, never mind the rain.” When the body was taken to the cremation ground, the rain stopped, and after the body was burnt to white ashes, it started raining again.

In 1942, I wanted to get my daughter married. I had a suitable boy in mind but he raised some objections. Anxiously, I showed his letter to Bhagavan, who said, “Don’t worry, it will come off.” Soon afterwards the boy himself came and the marriage was celebrated.

It is our greatest fortune that the Supreme Consciousness appearing in the garb of a human body graciously undertook to come down to our level of understanding and bore the tremendous task of imparting to us the atma vidya. The contact and impact that I have had with Bhagavan have been such as to make me feel that knowingly or unknowingly I must have done something in the course of my lives to deserve this unique blessing.

- Face to Face

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Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

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Disparaging a Jnani
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Sri Bhagavan warned the hearers against the mistake of disparaging a Jnani for his apparent conduct and cited the story of Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu and Uttara (story in the Mahabharath). He was a still born child. The ladies cried and appealed to Sri Krishna to save the child. The Sages round about wondered how Krishna was going to save the child from the effect of the arrow (apandavastra - to destroy the Panadava dynasty) of Ashwattama.

Sri Krishna said, “If the child be touched by one eternally celibate (nityabrahmachari) the child would be brought to life.” None of the Sages present dared to come forward. Even Suka (a celibate, son of Sage Vyasa) dared not touch the child.

Finding no one among the reputed saints bold enough to touch the child, Sri Krishna touched it, saying, “If I am eternally celibate may the child be brought to life.” The child began to breathe and later grew up to be Parakshit.

Just consider how Sri Krishna surrounded by gopis (girls who tend cows) is a brahmachari! Such is the mystery of Jivanmukti! A Jivanmukta is one who does not see anything separate from the Self.

- Bhagavan, Talk 449

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